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Ireland! part 6

September 21, 2009

Day 8

We woke up on day 8 to beautiful sunny skies, and decided to head to Dunluce Castle.  We got there just as it was opening and were happy to find that there were very few others around.  Pictures never look as nice when there are random other tourists in them!  We were also happy to be mistaken as Europeans by the man at the entrance desk, and we hoped this meant that we didn’t look TOO out of place!  (I also want to note that these are straight from my camera – photoshop was not used to get these beautiful colors – Ireland is really this beautiful).

After Dunluce, we hit the road and drove to Londonderry/Derry (depending on whether you are a unionist/nationalist).  Since Jason was so interested in the history of the Troubles, I thought that a stop in Londonderry/Derry would be of interest to him.  And it was.

We walked the old city wall and read about the history of the city, and then we walked around the Bogside neighborhood (where the Bloody Sunday event took place) to view the political murals there.  We were surprised to still see so much political graffiti in the city.

It was pretty easy to figure out which neighborhoods were unionist/protestant and which were nationalist/catholic.  See: BRITISH FLAG.

RIRA graffiti in the bogside neighborhood.

After our Rick Steves’ guided walking tours, we headed to the city center for a late lunch, and then drove to our accommodations for the evening (4 hours South of Londonderry/Derry).  It was another castle B&B… I chose it because I thought we might want a day or two of relaxation after all of our sightseeing, and because the reviews on it were pretty good (although I don’t think I found this one on tripadvisor).

Mmm.  Yes.  It was actually not what we wanted at this point in our vacay.  The castle was located in the middle of nowhere (I expected it to be countryish based on reviews).  The reviews mentioned a cute town nearby – it was about a 20-30 min drive.  We were the only ones staying at the castle that evening (unless you count the ghost that lives in the castle), and we stayed in the uppermost tower room.  It was decorated to the period, but there were a bunch of details that had been overlooked.  The curtain around the bed could have been straightened, the bathroom was old and although there was a hand-held shower, we saw a few cobwebs, there was no shower curtain around the tub, and I’m not sure the heater was working properly (it was very damp and a bit cold in the room), the electrical could be updated, and the mattress could have been more comfortable.  Other rooms in the castle looked nicer, though, so maybe we were paying for the ambiance?  I think we would have expected less had we paid about half the price for the room.

I spent the first portion of the night freaked out by the castle ghost and the second part of the night freaked out by the possibility of a fire.  I made Jason sleep with the lights on.  (Little did I know that he had carefully placed his shoes in front of the door in case we had to make a hasty escape – I discovered those the next morning).

Breakfast the next morning was decent, and the woman running the place was sweet.  Truthfully, despite the bad things I’ve written above, I thought the place was quite cute.  It would be a fun place to hold a family reunion, hen/bachelorette party, or murder mystery dinner.  For 2 people, staying alone, though, it was a bit creepy.

Day 9

We woke up at the castle and decided to drive to Newgrange for one of the final stops on our adventure. Again, we got caught in pouring rain… it was dry until we got out of the car – then, it poured! But perhaps the rain added to the mystery of Newgrange. It was a really cool stop – and they even took us inside the neolithic tomb. It was a little unnerving to hear that as we stood inside the tomb, we were covered by several tons of rocks, but stone age man must have been a good builder, because we escaped unharmed.

After our Newgrange visit, we headed into Dublin, returned our car, and checked into our B&B…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 21, 2009 3:38 pm

    Gotta love Dunluce Castle, and definitely a compliment to be thought of as Europeans 🙂

    Our fave beach is the one you can see from the castle – White Rocks – you can walk the length of the beach to Portrush.

    Derry is a fascinating place, but I never really pay much attention to the graffiti and murals – just part of the place to me.

    Boy do you find some weird and wonderful places to stay!!! Don’t fancy that castle at all.

    Sorry the trip report is nearly over – lovely seeing it from your perspective.

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